One of the things they tell you not to put on your personal statement for university is ‘how you’ve loved *said subject* since the dawn of time’ because it’s what everybody writes. Is it? Some people I know have applied for a course they’ve never been able to study before and some people, quite frankly just apply to university because they feel they have to. But luckily this isn’t a personal statement, so I can say whatever I want… and I have always loved English class. Although, I had a minor blip in year 11 when taking English Language GCSE because that was just painful.
I remember taking out 7 books a week from my local library and anxiously waiting for my next library trip because I had finished my lot and had saw some new editions waiting to be read the following week. There was a time when one of my awful primary teachers wrote on my school report that she felt I needed to read more books and I burst into tears because I didn’t think it was humanly possible to read more than I did. On my Christmas list (and still holds a place to this day) were national book tokens because I couldn’t possibly let a member of my family choose a book for me themselves- with the exception of my mother. I’m the only person in my family that can read while travelling and I felt that that was a sure sign I was destined for a life revolving around books. Littered around my room are classics, collections of poems, collections of essays, modern fiction that you can buy from the supermarket, books covered in brown paper with the synopsis written on the front and a book about the French Revolution which I am finding very hard to read. I love books, bookshops, poetry, reading plays, watching plays (but perhaps not when I have to stand up for three or more hours), writing fiction (that I never finish), writing English essays (that are not about the barriers of love in a poem that doesn’t really feature love that much) and just English in general.
But despite all of these things, I can’t bring myself to take it for the next 3 years of my life- but Birmingham you were incredibly tempting. I would spend those years immersed in the world of English, studying complex ideas that I would never had thought of, having the time of my life but more than likely become an English teacher, ending up right where I had started. Apart from being an academic librarian which is certainly something I would consider doing further on in my working life, there’s not much out there for me which doesn’t need experience in that field first.
My current choices are between publishing and journalism, both of which include a wide range of working experience opportunities and a guaranteed placement. In terms of journalism, it is nearly impossible to pursue a career without taking an NCTJ (National Council of Training Journalists) course and having that vital work experience. Whereas a publishing degree is not necessary to enter that field but work experience is and if that’s what it takes to even have a chance of getting a job in this crowded pool of graduates, then sorry English Lit but our road ends in year 13.
That doesn’t mean I’ll stop reading or trying to write my magnus opus because when that masterpiece hits the world, Shakespeare who?
Emily Simms: 18:56